...is that most of the time they are normal people. Sweet, fun, affectionate, helpful and good company. But, like the common cold, the problem can only stay away for so long. When it returns there is nothing you can do about it except feel sorry for yourself, weather the storm and wait for it to leave.
Edit: I had a dream about this post last night. I dreamt that the person I wrote this about was very angry I had posted about him on Facebook (things get confused in dreams). Obviously I'm a little uncomfortable in the old subconscious, wondering if I should have put this out there. But the Other Problem With Alcoholics is that they keep secrets. And when these secrets affect your life you are expected to keep them too. So I have decided not to remove this post, not to 'play the game', or 'take one for the team'. This secret is mine to give.